So, we can be more than maids, criminals, and thugs, you say? Yes we can! Thanks to the new visionaries in Hollywood, black people are creating different narratives that reflect more perspectives of black life. Finally, we can say, hooray for Hollywood, and mean it!
For decades, black actors were offered very few roles that allowed for the black experience to really be told and shared with the masses. The scope of what was portrayed on the big and small screen was very limited, and often, seen through the worst possible lens. We are so grateful that is changing! There are more black writers, producers, and directors than there has ever been, and the effect is a changing landscape in Tinseltown, because they are setting a new tone.
Because of the influence, artistic integrity, and dreams of a few amazing black people in Hollywood, we are seeing black women warriors who have beauty, charm, and who are just as fierce as they can be! We are seeing black men who show love, embrace their strength, and lead with an honor that we rarely got a glimpse of before now. We are seeing black aunties and uncles who are educated and young women who are more than just “objects” for other people’s use.
So, we want to celebrate the turning tide, and to some degree, the changing of the Hollywood “guard,” as we begin to shift our expectations from “same old ghetto stuff” to the glorious spectrum of blackness and black life that exists in the real world and, even in our own dreams…
Melanated, strong, and very handsome, Trevante Rhodes is the breakout star that has successfully created a new narrative for how black men are perceived. In his most recent movie, Bird Box, his character is the antithesis of how most “see” our black men. He’s gentle, loving, and fatherly. Yes! He’s going to have all of the kids wishing that he was their dad, and that’s a good thing. What a great example for our young black boys!
In times past, black directors didn’t seem to want to touch directing a scary movie with a ten-foot pole. Enter Jordan Peele, bringing comedic genius, realistic black characters, and a willingness to delve into some hair-raising stuff...and being extremely successful with it all! His new movie, US, features two absolutely awesome actors from Black Panther, Miss Lupita Nyong’o and Mr. Winston Duke. This movie will likely spook the heebie jeebies out of audiences. But it won’t be because the characters are living that “thug life” or “barbecuing while black!” Nope...not at all.
Issa Rae...quirky, straight with it, just as adorable as she can be, and reppin’ in her mocha melanation. What’s not to love about this bright, young actress, writer and director? Through her work, she takes stereotypes and throws them right back at you, all while being vulnerable and in her feelings. Issa Rae has let the world know that black women are more than baby mommas. They are more than just sidekicks, and they are more than just “the help.”
Issa Rae is Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” personified. She’s a real representation of black women, and all that we bring to the table. She’s making Hollywood take notice and she’s doing it on her own terms. So, we hope that she will keep showing the many facets of life as a black woman so that the masses will see that there is so much more to us than they thought. Keep cheering for “everybody black” at those award shows, Issa Rae! We are doing the same thing!